Amazon.com Bans Sale of Video Streaming Devices from Google, Apple

amazon-fire-tv

Amazon.com Inc. will stop selling media-streaming devices from Google Inc. and Apple Inc. that aren’t easily compatible with its video service, the latest example of the company using its clout to promote products that fit with its own retailing strategy.

The Seattle-based Web retailer sent an e-mail to its marketplace sellers that it will stop selling the Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast since those devices don’t “interact well” with Prime Video. No new listings for the products will be allowed and posting of existing inventory will be removed Oct. 29, Amazon said. Prime Video doesn’t run easily on its rival’s hardware.

Roku Inc.’s set-top device, Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox and Sony Corp.’s PlayStation, which work with Amazon’s video service, aren’t affected, it said. Amazon’s Fire TV stick, which plugs into an HDMI port to connect televisions with streaming services such as Netflix and Prime Video, is the company’s best-selling electronic device.

The move, coming just before the year-end holiday shopping season, shows how Amazon is willing to sacrifice sales of popular brand name products — Apple and Google have the best-selling media streaming devices generally — to bolster its own video-streaming service. Amazon has invested heavily in online content, including producing its own exclusive shows such as the award-winning transgender comedy “Transparent”, as a way to attract new Prime subscribers, who pay $99 a year for speedy shipping and access to video and other services.

Amazon’s strategy will likely hurt Google more than Apple, which has its own stores and direct access to customers. The move may also cost Amazon sales by diverting purchases of popular devices to competitors such as Best Buy Co.

“This has the potential to hurt Amazon as much as it does Apple and Google,” said Barbara Kraus, an analyst at Parks Associates. “As a retailer, I want to give people a reason to come to me. When I take out best-selling brands, I take away those reasons.”

Tom Neumayr, a spokesman for Apple, declined to comment. A Google representative also declined to comment.

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SOURCE:  Spencer Soper
Bloomberg

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